This Is How We Get Parties

Xanadu Weyr - Store Room
The storerooms here are carved into the stone, stretching back deep underground beneath the upper hallways that serve for residences and work areas. There is, after all, little need for natural light here; a series of electric lights are more than sufficient to illuminate smoothly cut walls and the assortment of supplies kept until they are needed once more.
For some of the things here, that time will be long in coming. Broken furniture and torn clothing awaits the opportunity for someone to repair it - or else the kindling and rag piles. Other items are more immediately useful; gently worn clothing and boots are neatly arranged in rows and on racks, especially in the quickly outgrown children's sizes, and an assortment of furniture and small appliances in functional condition await new homes.
A series of side rooms connected to the kitchen are the larder which feeds the Weyr through the winter. Sacks of grain lean against barrels of salted meat and wheels of hard cheeses stacked high. Refrigeration and dragonflight make for a more flexible winter diet, but it still takes a great deal of food to provide for this many people. The food is a tempting target for tunnelsnakes, and the occasional scuttle can be heard in the otherwise quiet depths of these caves.
Toward the southern edge, near the path leading down to the hot springs, there's the laundry rooms, a set of steam-filled chambers where water and soap are scrubbed into fabric of various sorts and the dirt and grime is scrubbed right back out.
Much of the stores are easily accessed, requiring only the appropriate permissions to be borrowed from. These supplies are, after all, here for the good of the Weyr and the people living here. A few rooms - those containing particularly valuable or dangerous items - are kept locked.

Early evening generally brings people to the caverns in search of dinner, company, and general frivolity. The store rooms tend to be far emptier. Far less frivilous. And yet it's here that Cara can be found in amongst the spare clothing and furniture awaiting repair. Somehow she's managed to find a chair that is mostly steady, though from the way she's perched on it the empahsis is definitely on the 'mostly'. In her hands is a mug of something warm, the steam drifting lazily up from the cup, but her gaze is fixed on the wall. Or possibly through the wall. Her mind clearly miles away.

Perhaps the lack of festivity to be found in usually-abandoned store rooms is exactly why Risali is — literally — crashing through the door. The woman’s clearly been running, and she's using the lip of the door’s frame to stop her momentum before she can go skidding into Cara, leaning her back against the door once she’s managed to close it with relative quiet. Chest laboring to remember how to breathe, wild grey eyes finally adjust to the change in lighting and — oh. Of course Risali couldn’t simply discard her dignity without somebody else there to see. This is her life, and these are her choices. One, two, three, and the harper takes in her fellow candidate occupying a mostly-sturdy seat (mostly) with some fleeting form of surprised disbelief. Somewhere between ‘awkward’ and ‘is this really happening?’, Risali finally speaks. “Hello,” comes a tentative whisper, seconds before Risa holds one finger up to her lips in the universal sign for silence. Is the harper pushing her ear against the door and straining to hear what’s going on on the other side? Why yes, yes she is. Another moment, and then Risali relaxes, sliding down the door to sit in front of it with an exhale.

SQUEAK!! Wobble goes the chair, flail goes the Cara, splosh goes the mug of what now proves to be klah as the liquid slops onto the floor. Slowly, almost comically slowly, the chair topples and there's a fraction of a second where Cara's expression can only be read as 'Oh Sh…' before over she goes. If there had been any hope of things being kept completely silent they're dashed by the noise of a body hitting the floor and the (thankfully quiet) mutterings of "oh crap oh crap oh crap." that follows. On the upside her mug has remained mostly upright and there's still some left! "What happened?" Pushing up into a mostly sitting position, this time on the floor, Cara blinks over towards Risali. "Are you okay?"

Risali watches in wide-eyed slow motion as Everything That Can Go Wrong goes wrong; Cara’s seat commits the ultimate betrayal, dashing her dignity in a way that has Risali reaching out as if she can will a nonexistent breeze to save her (she can’t); Cara’s mug of This Was Probably Some Exceptionally Good Klah hits the floor and spills most of its insides to protest its negligent treatment; Risali realizes that if He From Whom She Hides is anywhere near he will definitely hear the uproar — and for a moment that stretches, while Cara sits up and blinks and asks questions, Risali simply sits there with her mouth in a little ‘o’ and her arm outstretched, spilled klah creeping its way towards revenge in the form of wet pants from the floor. “Faranth, I didn’t mean to startle you — I didn’t even think anybody was here. I just —“ Risali is scrambling quickly to her feet once more, edging away from seeking Klah and grabbing storage fabric-y things to stem the flow with. “I’m fine, I really was just trying to hide from somebody. He’s —“ And Risali flushes, biting her lip to silence the thought before she hobble-hops over klah-soaking things and extends her hands for Cara, so that she can help her up. “Are you okay?"

"You didn't." Cara replies almost reflexively, though quickly follows up with, "I mean… you did, but that chair was… well… there's a reason it's down here." More reason now, seeing as it's apparently now short one leg. As Risali mops Cara takes a moment to test and make sure nothing's broken - hips… check. Butt… all good. Shoulder… yep, fine. Elbow… "Oh ow." She flexes it slowly, twisting the arm and craning her head around to try to peer at the offending joint. Yep, definitely hurts, as evidenced by the wince every time she moves it. "I'm fine. I think I just bashed my elbow a bit. Stupid floor's too hard." The laugh that follows is an almost perfect 'hahahaha' possibly a tad too loud. Maybe just a little overexaggerated. but at least she finally sits up and reaches for that traitorous mug, drainingthe last of its contents before it can object. "Who're you hiding from? Should we move?"

Should they move? “NO!” Risali winces at her own decibels, hands going out as if to apologize without words as she tries again with a much quieter, “No. No we should definitely stay here.” The harper watches the other candidate inspect her body to ensure that there’s no lasting damage, and even has the good grace to look thoroughly chagrinned when it is discovered that elbows have not escaped unscathed. There’s an almost remorseful grimace that precedes another, “I’m so sorry,” and then Risali turns her attention momentarily back to the door. One beat, two beats, three beats, four — and when it seems like nobody is going to come through it on her heels, Risali returns to what she was doing before. “He’s uhm… a… bronzerider?” A flimsy explanation at best, but Risali is flushing all over again when the topic returns to the ‘Who’ that is CLEARLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THIS. “I just.” Grey eyes flicker towards Cara and then back down again, as she crab-walks her way around spilled messes and ends up beside the woman. She settles in a crouch, arms going around her knees as she tilts her head and tries to not be ridiculous. “Do you uhm… Do you have a person? You know, somebody who is your favorite person? Because he is that — to me. He’s my person, my favorite one, and I don’t want to see him right now.” WHICH CONTRADICTS HIM BEING HER FAVORITE BUT — “Why are you in here all alone?” Look at her navigating a topic-change like she was born to politic.

Cara waves the apology away, with the non painful arm. "It's fine, chances are I would have gone over at some point anyway. I'm not exactly the most graceful of people." As Risali stares at the door, so too does Cara even though she has no idea what to expect, it's almost a disappointed look that forms when nobody appears, but it's quickly wiped away. "A… pers… Oooooh. No. Well… yes. But no. Um…." A blush forms and there's no way she can disguise it as being post fall trauma because… that's a definite blush. Painful elbow or not that arm moves so that she can rub at the back of her neck, gaze downcast, and a slight smile appearing that hints that there's definitely someone she likes. "I needed to think?" The change of subject is quick, the fading of the blush is not. It glows on. "Have oyu been out to see the eggs yet?"

Risali might actually be disappointed too — just a (lot) little bit. She hides it well, behind a no-nonsense bun and lips that go taut in grim approval of having escaped yet again (the poor man). Now Risali is faced with two choices: girl talk, or pretending there’s no such thing and discussing eggs. She goes for a flimsy attempt at both (she has like two friends in the whole world, be gentle). “I have, they were wonderful. Have you?” And then before she really even gives Cara a chance to answer that, she is clinging on to her having a ‘Person’ like it’s a lifeline. “You do!” An excited, almost accusatory hiss of a whisper as she wiggle-wiggles closer until they are BUMP! shoulder-to-shoulder and she can lean in for a whisper. “Is it a he? Or a she? Tell me about them.” Because what’s better than hiding away from chores, locked in a storage room (okay so not locked but…) with somebody who’s practically a stranger, talking about the people that make your heart do stupid things inside of your stupid chest?
You paged L'gan with ‘D: Nooo. Not enough sleep?’

"They were odd." Cara replies with something akin to a frown. "I mean… there were a couple that were… nice. Very nice. But some of them are a bit invasive? Like whenyou have a bruise and you keep poking it only not that subtle. It's all a bit…." Weird? Scary? Who knows, because she gets distracted by Risali's shoulder bumping into hers. Her blush turns up to 11. "I… we… it's a he, only we're not togetheroranythingandit's…." Words trip over each other in the rush to get out, but the ground resolutely refuses to open up and swallow her. "He's a friend. Sortof. He just got weyrmated so I'm." She stops, takes a deep breath, tries again. "We had a thing, and I sortof love him, but I'm trying to just be a friend so I don't lose him completely." Another pause, longer this time, then she adds, "Pleasedon'ttellanyone."

While Cara speaks, Risali shuffles closer (if that’s even possible), grey eyes lit up with the kind of camaraderie that says maybe Risali doesn’t have very many friends — and she doesn’t — and she’s potentially just found one in the way that kindred spirits do through common ground. Kind of. If common ground is, ’There’s a boy I like,’ with different endings. Nevermind the eggs, they’re getting to the juicy parts, and Risa's drawing back like she’s been slapped when Cara says that the man of her affections has gone and — “WHAT?!” A wince, a mental decibel check, and then she hisses out, “He did what?!” at the candidate, all righteous indignation that this man of mystery would DARE PASS UP ON HER VERY NEW MAYBE-FRIEND FOR A NEW MAYBE-NEMESIS. “Good for nothing…” something something, “absolutely unbelievable…” something something, and then Risali is reaching out her hands to cup Cara’s face between them, leaning in as grey eyes narrow to find something — exhale. And then maybe guilt, because it’s possible that she’s actually the woman who weyrmated the man and not the woman who get left behind by said man. Even if she’s not, you know, weyrmated. “What kind of a thing? Like I-Make-Poor-Life-Choices was a playboy and you got snared, or like… I-Make-Poor-Life-Choices was yours and then I-Wreck-Lives took him from you?” BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT. Risali waves her hand dismissively at the end, adding on a very hushed, “I wouldn’t have anybody to tell anyway.”

Internal conflict plays out first on Cara's face (a bit hard to hide it when someone's grabbed you but to be fair she doesn't even try) and then in words. "He's nice really!" Which possibly says more about how she feels about him, even now, than anything else could. "Really nice. But." A but followed by a pause. A Big but. "Promise you won't tell?" Apparently the promise isn't really needed because she fires ahead anyway. "We were friends, and it got flirty. Really flirty. And he was seeing someone so nothing happened, there was a line you know? Didn't cross it. Only they split up. Or he said they did. I don't know. Line… gone. He was… is… incredible. He used to send me these letters and wow. They were… anyway." A cough, blush reaching at least a 12 - which is impressive on a scale of 1-10. Letters = HOT. "They weyrmated maybe a seven after I got Searched? So I backed off. Miss him like crazy though. He sent me another letter today." This pause doesn't have a but, but it does have a smile and a wry chuckle. "I have no idea why I'm telling you this."

Risali looks doubtful that this so called MAN can be considered nice, despite Cara’s enthusiasm, evident when brows draw together in an effort not to say anything while the candidate speaks. The request for discretion earns her a soft, “I promise,” and Risa listens. There’s a nod of her head here, another nod there — a pause, and then a giggle (even if it starts Risali blushing herself) — until they come to the explosive conclusion of Love Gone Wrong and Risali exhales again. “Was the letter…” Risali can’t say it, she blushes instead and clears her throat. “Was it just telling you he was weyrmated? Or was it like the letters before?” As for why Cara is sharing this with her — Risali shrugs one shoulder, lowering herself to settle on her bottom finally with knees drawn to her chest, chin on top of them. “I don’t know, but I like it."
Cara's hand rubs at the back of her neck again. "Exactly like before." Which would explain the hiding in the stores, and the blushing, but does rather raise the question of where said letter is. "He wants me to write back to him, but to destroy the one he sent me like we used to. Only… I never really did before." Nope, floor still will not open up and swallow her. "Stupid, right?" It's a sigh that follows, and a moment of looking at her nails as if perhaps they held the answer. "What's yours like?"

Risali looks momentarily stunned — and then furious. “He can’t just do that to you,” Risali hisses, outraged enough for the both of them until Cara says it’s stupid and Risali shakes her head vigorously. “It’s not stupid — not on your part, anyway. He shouldn’t be leading you on like this. You should get back at him. You know, put on something he likes, let him see you, but not near you. We could dance and pretend he doesn’t exist and make him realize that he’s made a mistake.” Except for that one little snag: candidacy. Risali doesn’t comment on it, muttering something under her breath again that sounds suspiciously like, ‘have a party,’ and then she’s brought up short by Cara’s question. What is hers like? Now it’s Risali’s turn to blush a 12 that says ‘HOT’. “He’s an idiot,” she manages on a suspiciously strangled whisper, as grey eyes look ANYWHERE BUT CARA. One, two, three, and then Risa’s shoulders lose their tension. “He uhm… he didn’t want to be in a serious relationship for a long time. I don’t even know how he and I are… he and I, except that we are. And…” A sideways glance, a whispered, “Now it’s your turn not to tell.” Likewise, however, she hardly waits for confirmation. “He’s a rider here — well, more like he followed me here when I came from Half Moon Bay.” But somehow it seems wrong to gush happiness when somebody else is anything but. “So should we do it, then? Should we get revenge? Ah — and, I’m Risali by the way. Well met."

“A party it is, then,” Risali concedes, smiling at the possibilities of just what mischief they can get up to until she’s being regarded with compliments and they’re back on the topic of her idiotic bronzerider. “Ah — me? Faranth, no. But yours is truly an idiot for walking away.” Which is to say, Risali thinks Cara is gorgeous, and then she’s blushing as she shifts uncomfortably and clears her throat. “Mine rides bronze and — well, I. I… I’ve told him that he’s allowed to do whatever is best for him — even if best isn’t me — but one day he kissed me just to shut me up, and I don’t know what it was, but something clicked. It was right. We never got along, it was always fighting and screaming whenever we saw each other and then… well. He hasn’t been with other women outside of flights since then and he’s good to me. He’s patient, and he’s kind, and he’s…” Another blush, raising the bar to a 15 when words inexplicably fail her. “I love him,” she breathes, curling in on herself as if she can make herself small enough to fall through a crack if the ground won’t oblige swallowing her whole. “But he’s still an idiot.” Grey eyes blink once, twice, and then focus on Cara again. “What should we do for the party?"

"Well technically mine hasn't walked away." Cara admits with a bit of a chuckle, then winces. "Ugh, it sounds worse when I put it like that. At least it sounds like you've got a good one, even with the arguments. Worth loving." Another snort, though this one's utterly mirthless. "I love J'than. Never told him that, never will. Ugh. Men!" Something, somewhere triggers a thought and suddenly she adds, "Oh. I'm Cara by the way. I think we were sortof introduced ages ago but, to be honest, I'm a bit useless with names unless I write them down. Nice to finally meet you properly, even if it's under… strange… circumstances." At least this time when shelaughs it's genuine, as is the smile she beams in Risali's direction. "We should have a huge party. With games and things. But not kids games, unless it's that one where you have to put your hands and feet on coloured patches because that's kinda fun."

“Men,” Risali agrees, though she sounds less derisive and more faraway than her concession might indicate. There’s a shift of her body again, a gentle shoulder bump for Cara, and then a hushed smile when she says, “Mine is named K’vir. He’s the obnoxiously tall one with the beard, if you see him around. Just be careful with that one — he’ll draw you in with his stupid smile and his stupid… stupid.” But she leaves it there, because gushing is definitely not polite and ANYWAY, they totally have a party to plan in an attempt to make J’than wish he was there to party with Cara. “Well met, Cara. And yes I ah — I’m sorry it was this way that we met proper.” Because she’s hiding from K’vir, of course. Who knows why. “I’ve never played that one,” Risali admits, looking slightly confused about just HOW hands and feet on colored dots could be at all fun (though that’s obviously just because she’s never played Twister in her life). “I know there’s one where you spin a bottle and kiss whoever it lands on, right?” Hesitation, but Risali plows on despite the fact that she really doesn’t want to kiss people who aren’t K’vir because this is what friends do… right? “I might be able to get K’vir to get us some rum, though I’m not sure how much trouble that’ll land us — and him — in if we get caught."

Cara laughs, shoulder-bumping back as she repeats K'vir's name under her breath - she didn't write it down, she'll still forget, but at least she amde an effort. "Oh I do like stupid, but you're okay. I don't go after other people's stupid. Not knowingly anyway." Her head tilts to one side for a moment, lips pursing before she smiles again, "I'm not. Sorry I mean. It's odd, sure, but it's nice to have someone to talk to. Especially today." But there are games to talk about, "You've never played, but you've played spin the bottle? It's way more fun especially if it's just with two people and some oi… maybe we'll keep that one for another time. Not really a party game. Could play truth or dare? We'll need to get more people though and…" Then there's that offer of rum! "We are allowed to drink just not a lot so they couldn't really complain. Oh! We could ask some of the other candidates! I'm sure I could get some food and things. Might not be assistant headwoman anymore but I can still pull a few strings."

For a moment, Risali struggles to speak until finally, finally she breathes out, “Faranth, Cara. No. I’m not worried about you taking K’vir from me, and even if I was.” A pause, as Risali considers her words carefully and then exhales, “He’s not mine. I love him, but I want him to be happy.” A thought that leaves her looking momentarily bereft, as if seeing a future she doesn’t want to see, seconds before the unspoken emotion is snuffed out and replaced with a blush of embarrassment. “I’ve never played it before,” she admits. “My younger brothers told me about it.” SHE IS THE SHELTERED ONE. SHE IS THE ONLY GIRL. Faranth save her. She even looks clueless about Truth or Dare — which may or may not be deceiving because she laughs. “I’m more used to twenty questions, but truth or dare sounds like it could be fun.” A nod, to agree that SOME OF THE BOOZE are allowed, just not ALL OF THE BOOZE, and then she’s making a thoughtful little hum in her throat. “We have to dance, too. It’s never a party if nobody’s dancing."

Cara blinks, puzzles, then OHs loudly. "No. I didn't think you did I just… I just wanted it said. That I'm not really like that. In case you… oh shells. It was just with what we were talking about I thought I should say I don't go for other people's men, that's all. In case it seemed like I do. Besides if he's half as into you and you are with him, I doubt he'd notice anyone else." Quick, change the subject! "Never played it?" She sounds soubting, though perhaps it's her previous gaffe that makes her not push the issue. "Twenty questions is fun too. Problem with truth or dare is people can take it too far. Oh if we have booze we could play… um… what's it called… never have I ever. You say something you've nevr done and everyone that has done it needs to take a drink." Yes, they will definitely need ALL THE BOOZE at this rate. "Do we have any harper candidates? Maybe we could convince them to play for us?"

Risali could elaborate on just what she meant, but in lieu of walking both women in an awkward circle of reassurances, the harper lets this one go. “No, I… haven’t really had friends until recently.” There’s not much room for PARTY and GAMES when your social circle consisted of boys that were brothers and overprotective parents. “I don’t exactly have the most… agreeable disposition.” Risali is quick to anger and likes to shriek — a lot. All that huffing and puffing between her and K’vir that she was talking about? Pretty much her, and poor K’vir enduring it. “Maybe we can set a limit with truth or dare? You know, nothing that would get us kicked out of candidacy or that might endanger each other.” Risali wiggles about in though and then claps her hands together when they get to the booze game. “Ohh, that sounds fun. My father’s… thing used to be a bartender. I’ll ask him for some good stuff.” And then a pause, as Risali debates the harper comment and rolls her shoulders. “I’m a harper, but I can’t really wheel a piano into the barracks. I can sing though.” Shoulder bump. THIS IS WHAT FRIENDS DO, RIGHT? “Do we need anything else you can think of?"

"I think you're nice." It's out pretty much before Cara can think about it, but at least there's no sign of decit in the compliment. "I can get really grumpy, especially with my sisters. Friends?" It's half offer, half statement, all genuine. "We definitely need rules, but not too many or people might not want to play. Do you think the others will play? I don't really know them well enough." Thinking… thinking… "Can't think of any other games. Food, and booze. Would you sing? I'd love to hear you."

“I think you are too,” Risali says, unable to keep the smile from her voice. There’s a laugh for grumpiness, and then Risali clears her throat. “The first time I met K’vir, I put him in a choke hold. The first time I met my father’s thing, I threw a bubbly at his face. He threw it back.” She a mastermind of chaos when she’s radiating fury — Cara will probably find that out, some day. Even if she has calmed considerably under the influence of Calisi and K’vir both. It pays to have a best friend and a boyfriend who put up with your sh— “I don’t know them well enough either, but even if it’s just us, I’m sure they’ll join in once they see us having fun.” She even nods when asked if she’ll sing — AND THEN IT HAPPENS. The door OPENS UP, and Risali is making a noise as she links an arm through Cara’s with anticipation — and it is so much worse than she thought. The man peeking in has a patch over one eye, the good eye showing is as grey as Risali’s. His hair is short, dark, untamed, and he’s dressed head-to-toe in leathers — though missing any knot to indicate weyr or if he really is a dragonrider. “Found you,” comes a husky burr, and Risali and making a face. A VERY FACEY FACE. “You can’t just SHOW UP AND KIDNAP PEOPLE.” She shrieks (see, it’s happening), and the man only seems to find amusement in Risali’s fury, stepping through the door. “But I haven’t even started to kidnap you yet.” A pause, as that lone eye fixates temporarily on Cara, cheshire grin in tact, and he breathes, “Do you mind?” as he reaches out to HAUL HIS DAUGHTER UP AND OVER HIS SHOULDERS. “DAD!” SHRIEK, SPIT, HISS. Risali is forming consonants that never quite turn into words because she’s so sharding furious. Yep. Dignity. Risali seems to lose it every time she gets just a little bit. And out Ila’den goes, intent on making Risa miserable.

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